25 Comments

  1. She’s just messing with him.
    Anyhow, I decided to try the Kinsey Milhone series, and Why? it starts with her saying that being a private eye is a series of boring steps, and then proceeds to prove that in bee grinding detail.
    So, book suggestions?

  2. Interesting comment, Downpuppy. I enjoyed Sue Grafton’s books. Still, ‘twould be nice to have something else to read.

  3. I started another long-running detective series, the Sharon McCone stories by Marcia Muller. I like them They started back in the 80s, so you have the different times. Like when she finds a body or something, she has to go find a phone booth or something to call the police.

  4. Mysteries set in large cities (those are in SF) tend to involve the investigator driving around the city and region quite a bit. For some reason, I like to call up Google Maps and find where the action is as I read.

  5. Harlan Cobain has the protagonist drive all around Bergen County, NJ, in the most impossible of ways — on any given day it takes at least 15 minutes to go anywhere within one town, and he has his protagonist driving from north to south, east to west, and stopping into NYC in the most infuriatingly unrealistic ways. He lives in Ridgewood, Bergen County (or is it Wood Ridge? Or Park Ridge? Or Ridgefield? Or Bergenfield? Or Ridgefield Park?*), so he should know better. Maybe he writes escapist fantasy that gets mistaken for verisimilitude…

    *All real Bergen County towns

  6. In the book I was reading last night, Sharon has to go to Berkeley, where she had graduated from UC in the 70s. She notices many of the changes on University Ave. as she travels along. At the intersection with Shattuck, she notes with displeasure that there is a brand-new McDonalds. On the map, there is a McDonalds to this day.

    Funny line of the book so far, she is interviewing a professor there. He inquires as to how she became a private detective. She replies that she got a degree in Sociology from Cal. He laughs.

  7. FWIW, my favorite mystery series is the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977). Not only is each book a delicious mystery, but the characters are fascinating, and they develop as the series progresses.

  8. If we’re plugging books, my self-published eBook “Her Temporary Prince” is just $2.99 at most eBookiariums. It’s a comedic romantic Jazz Age Ruritanian … (sounds of a scuffle and a door slamming)

  9. If we’re just doing mystery series books, my current/ongoing favorite is Christoper Fowler’s “Bryant and May” series, and my all-time favorites are either John Dickson Carr’s “Gideon Fell” or “Carter Dickson’s” [Carr under a pseudonym” “Henry Merrivale” mysteries.

    If you’re going just with female P.I. books, I’ll vote for ESGardner’s “Bertha Cool” books, though her male co-star Donald Lam usually gets the lead role.

  10. Sara Paretsky lives in my neighborhood, and on-and-off participates in local-concerns mailing lists and Google or Facebook Groups. I did read and enjoy several of her V.I. Warshawski books a while back, but they didn’t really make it to the top reaches of my faves, and I haven’t continued with her recent work.

  11. I love Paretsky’s older books (but haven’t caught up with her most recent books). I saw her once, at a San Mateo bookstore’s reading.

  12. “Sharon has to go to Berkeley, where she had graduated from UC in the 70s. She notices many of the changes on University Ave. as she travels along. At the intersection with Shattuck, she notes with displeasure that there is a brand-new McDonalds. ”

    When the heck was that book written? “Brand-new?” That McDonalds has been there since I was in junior high!

  13. In 1990 that McDonalds would have been there for nearly 20 years! Maybe it hasn’t been there since my jr. high days but it has been there at least since 1977.

  14. Okay. We’ll assume that she hadn’t been back there since before then. She graduated in the early 70s or so.

  15. No mention of Hink’s going out of business? That was far more shocking and sad (they had hardwood floors!) than a McDonalds opening (which everyone did oppose) and would have also been mid seventies almost immediately after her graduation.

  16. Downpuppy –

    I tend to read books on British history these days – so I generally know who done it and why it happened in advance. (Currently on the second of two books on Queen Anne which was written in the early 20th century which rather soggs along, but they do read much better than a 1950s book on Henry III and family which I fell asleep a few times while reading – in mid afternoons not at night.)

    Some older books – husband loved/loves the original Ian Fleming James Bond books which are better than the movies which sometimes are only sort of related to the original plot and better than the newer books by other authors . (He did not like reading until he started reading them in junior high – they got him hooked on reading.) I liked the Ellery Queen books – if you have not read them.

  17. Meryl A: When I was a teenager spending a summer at my grandma’s house, I would borrow books from the local library. I was sitting on Grandma’s porch reading a book and this kid came along, sneering. “What’cha reading, Egghead?” he asked. I held up the book. “James Bond.” His expression totally changed into that of a cat seeing catnip. “Where did you get that?” he asked. “At the library,” I said.

    The book was “Bottled In Bond,” a reissue of three novels in one volume. The second of the three was “The Spy Who Loved Me” and it is NOT better than the movie. It’s a piece of absolute garbage. It was a failed attempt to write a women’s romance novel. The only things it has in common with the movie are the title and the character James Bond.

  18. I attempted to read a Bond novel once (I think it was Diamonds are Forever, that’s the one in Nevada, right?), it was all Bond stumbling around like a not particularly bright child with ADD, and all forced plot because the author wants to go here now. I specifically recall that it was necessary for Bond to miss the bad guy he’s following doing something that is important for future plot development, and the only way the author could think to make it happen was for Bond, in the middle of a high stakes espionage mission, to be distracted by a novelty commercial oxygen dispenser, stick his quarter in and take a huff, and thus be distracted enough by the oxygen high to miss or fail to prevent whatever crucial thing the bad guy did. I don’t think I bothered to finish that one (which is very rare for me, not to finish a book!), it was just such absolute garbage. At least the movie had a decent budget, even if the action acting was tired and lame (cf: the original light saber battle between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader, vs. those that “preceded” it — I think the highlight of that fight was when Ben spun all the way around and still deflected the lame, half-ass thrust from “Darth”…) — a young Sean Connery, still massively out of shape, “running” and hiding inside an office, and the henchman chasing him just so, so he can step out and hit him from behind… shudder (also makes me think of Yul Brynner desperately sucking in his gut through-out The King and I). I have never, ever gotten Bond: he is a repellant, ugly narcissist, and not even particularly good at his job. What is the appeal?
    (Oh, and Ian Fleming had this thing of trying to force his version of the perfect thing on everyone through his writing — how many times does he describe a steak that can be cut with a fork as the perfect steak? Reminds me of the rant Aaron Sorkin had Martin Sheen do as President Bartlet about the weak-ass girly martinis that Bond drinks…)

    Sorry to pile on…

  19. If you like crime dramas with a little romance, you might like the J.D. Robb “In Death” series. They are set in the future, starting around 2058, and feature Detective Eve Dallas and her aide/partner Officer Delia Peabody as homicide cops. The first was published in 1995, so it’s fun to see the changes to technology and the “history” in the books compared to reality. I enjoy them, anyway.

  20. Mark in Boston – We have that book. Lots of Bond books including first editions of the newer ones and of some of the older ones and multiple editions of books. Movie posters. Beta, VHS, DVD – when we had bedbugs and had to get rid of a lot of our videos due to lack of space to move the Beta/VHS ones out of the house (along with audio tape and anything else which could burn, melt or explode in heat) to storage in bags with bug strips the rule was “If we have it on VHS, the Beta copy goes, if we have it on DVD the VHS goes – except Bond which have on all 3.

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